$250 ADB loan for pandemic fight

THE Asian Development Bank has approved a $250 million loan to help finance the Papua New Guinea government’s response to the pandemic.
$250 ADB loan for pandemic fight $250 ADB loan for pandemic fight $250 ADB loan for pandemic fight $250 ADB loan for pandemic fight $250 ADB loan for pandemic fight

Masatsugu Asakawa

Staff Reporter

The ADB says PNG declared a state of emergency on March 21 and the subsequent public health emergency, closure of its borders, lockdowns, and other response measures have put pressure on the country's health system and economy. 
"Among ADB's Pacific developing members, only PNG is currently affected by community transmission of the pandemic.
"Covid-19 has had a devastating health, social, and economic impact on PNG," said ADB president Masatsugu Asakawa.
"ADB is committed to supporting the government in responding to this pandemic. These funds will help in containing the health and economic impact of the pandemic by strengthening the country's health sector and providing much-needed budgetary support for revitalising the economy."
The bank says its program will help the government finance and implement its $769 million pandemic response plan that includes an economic stimulus package. The program will help strengthen PNG's health system by building temporary isolation facilities for Covid-19 patients, training frontline health workers, rapidly procuring test kits and personal protective equipment, and improving the water supply for communities, schools and clinics.
"The program will provide social assistance and food security to vulnerable groups, particularly those affected by income and job losses. About 5000 people in Port Moresby will receive food rations, delivered through local churches.
"The program will provide assistance to small businesses and rural producers, including subsidised lending, loans for women-owned businesses, price support for farmers, support to purchase seedlings for 10,000 smallholder farmers and poor rural households, and hygiene improvements in local markets to allow trading to continue.
"The program will also focus on gender equality by ensuring women are not disproportionately affected by the pandemic. That includes measures to protect women's health, including ring-fencing of funding for maternal health care services. More support will also be provided for gender-based violence services to protect the most vulnerable women," the ADB said.



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